Science in Faith and Hope. An Interaction

A Review of George Ellis Science in Faith and Hope an interaction Quaker Books 2004 ISBN 085245371X Softback £4

George Ellis is currently Professor of Complex Systems at the University of Cape Town, and holds a Visiting Chair in Astronomy at Queen Mary College, London. His area of specialism within science is the application of general relativity theory to cosmology (this being about the origin and evolution of the universe). He is also a Quaker.

This short book (which started life as a lecture) is about the harmonizing of science and religion. In it he argues that the superiority or ascendancy of either in history or modernity is wrong. That these areas have similar areas of concern in discussions of existence and ethics is undeniable for Ellis.

Ellis spends his time in the book discussing these issues of correlation; some of them would cause concern more to scientists than theologians. In my experience (and seemingly Ellis’) scientists seem to cringe if religion is brought into a discussion. Though Ellis’ work he treats issues in a scholarly way it would probably not find its way into a science classroom, however as a teacher resource for GCSE or as a primary text for A Level Philosophy of Religion or Ethics Ellis provides an accessible introduction to the issues Christians face when challenged by science.

While some of Ellis’ conclusions may be disputed by creationists, for example evolution is accepted as fact albeit with a creator, a lot of his conclusions would help students understand how a Christian is able to meet this debate head on.

In summary this book is a very useful and accessible introduction to the issues surrounding science and religion. While beyond the grasp of GCSE students, it is useful for teachers of GCSE and students of A level.